In 1965, at the desire of its Pastor, the choir of St. Maurice Church was disbanded. The members however, shared a love of choral music and continued to sing together in their homes. Joyce Winter, a choir member, had heard that the Department of Parks and Recreation of the City of Livonia was considering sponsoring a mixed singing group. She approached the then director of the department with the proposal that the former choir could form the nucleus of this group. He agreed that this could be the start provided that certain regulations were met. Accordingly, a public notice announcing the formation of the group and inviting new members was published. Thus the Livonia Civic Chorus, as it came to be known, was born.
Then followed the necessary procedures of obtaining an accompanist, writing bylaws, electing officers and other organizational necessities. We were off and running.
From the outset the chorus elected to be other than a stand up formal choir. Choreography, costumes and sets were to be a landmark of our major performances. As time went on, narration, skits, plots and dialogue were added along with guest performers, dancers, musicians and scholarship winners. The idea was to entertain the audience, provide for scholarships and enjoy the pleasures of performing music with others of like mind.
Over the years we have been fortunate to have several directors whose strong direction and talents have extended over a period of several years. Thus chorus enjoyed a loyal membership with some members numbering their membership in the decades. We have others with over ten years membership and still more approaching that mark.
Our music has ranged from simple unison numbers to challenging intricate harmonies. Fortunately, we have had a lot of good voices and some truly outstanding ones as well. As Mark Twain remarked that there was no such thing as bad whiskey, some was just better than others so too could this be said of the chorus. But talent beyond the vocal had also been displayed when costumes, sets, choreography, creative writing and organizational skills are considered. Artistic talent, creativity and a dedicated work ethic are essential to our continued success.
Our venues have ranged widely from performances in Livonia High School auditoriums, the Plymouth State Home for children with disabilities, Selfridge Air Force base, Greenfield Village, Greektown, Knights of Columbus, Livonia Spree, the Marquee Theatre in Northville. Also included are sing-outs in Adrian, Grayling, several local malls, and Presbyterian Village, an annual engagement we have continued since our inception.
The history of the chorus would not be complete if mention of our scholarship program were to be omitted. The chorus recognized early on that in addition to providing entertainment for the community, there was a need to promote the enhancement of music appreciation by encouraging young musicians in their careers. We initiated a program to provide scholarships to the International Music Camp in Interlochen, MI. Deserving students in voice and instrument were selected on a competitive basis. Several of our winners have gone on to greater heights in their musical careers and we are proud to have been a part of their success. The chorus has enjoyed and indeed is deeply grateful to the Department of Parks and Recreation, the elected officials of the City of Livonia and to our audience for the support provided over the years.
Now we look forward to a continued presence in the community, to continue sponsoring scholarships and to common bonds of the love of music, sharing and friendship! Come and join us.
- - Written by Hank Kanar
LCC Charter Member